Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ How to print a house – Curbed
Did somebody say construction-labor shortage? This automation is the beginning of an amazing future.
⇧ This $2.5 million Palo Alto teardown shows how coastal housing policy has gone wrong – Vox
… when you have just one housing unit per parcel of land, then expensive land translates very directly into expensive houses. It would normally be more profitable to take some of these expensive parcels of land and fit two or three families onto it. Or to combine a few parcels and build a tall building that can house dozens or even hundreds of families.
The reason that doesn’t happen is that the bulk of the land area in Palo Alto – like in all of America’s suburban counties and even many of its central cities – is set aside by law for the exclusive use of single-family detached homes.
⇧ Inside the New Suburban Crisis – CityLab
This is more extensive excerpting than I’ve typically been doing lately, but it’s an important subject. I recommend you click through and read the whole article.
Across the United States, more than one in four suburbanites are poor or nearly poor. In fact, the suburbs of America’s largest metropolitan areas have more poor people living in them than their inner cities do, and poverty is also growing at a much faster rate in the suburbs. …
Once sold as havens of safety and serenity, many suburbs are now struggling with rising crime as their economies falter and populations shift. …
… Having multiple cars and keeping them insured, repaired, and fueled up on gas can be an expensive proposition. Living closer to where one works or being able to take public transit can slash those costs considerably. For this reason, a pricier condo or apartment in the urban core or along transit lines can end up being considerably more affordable than a cheaper house in a car-dependent suburb.
Suburban sprawl is extremely costly to the economy broadly. Infrastructure and vital services such as water and energy can be 2.5 times more expensive to deliver in the suburbs than in compact urban centers. In total, sprawl costs the U.S. economy roughly $600 billion a year in direct costs related to inefficient land usage and car dependency, and another $400 billion in indirect costs from traffic congestion, pollution, and the like, according to a 2015 study from the London School of Economics. The total bill: a whopping $1 trillion a year.
More than the great mobilization effort of World War II or any of the Keynesian stimulus policies that were applied during the 1930s, it was suburban development that propelled the golden era of economic growth in the 1950s and 1960s. As working- and middle-class families settled into suburban houses, their purchases of washers, dryers, television sets, living-room sofas, and automobiles stimulated the manufacturing sector that employed so many of them, creating more jobs and still more homebuyers. Sprawl was driver of the now-fading era of cheap economic growth.
But today, clustering, not dispersal, powers innovation and economic growth. Many people still like living in suburbs, of course, but suburban growth has fallen out of sync with the demands of the urbanized knowledge economy. Too much of our precious national productive capacity and wealth is being squandered on building and maintaining suburban homes with three-car garages, and on the infrastructure that supports them, rather than being invested in the knowledge, technology, and density that are required for sustainable growth. The suburbs aren’t going away, but they are no longer the apotheosis of the American Dream and the engine of economic growth.
⇧ Low-income requirements for Los Angeles updated for 2017 – Curbed LA
In November, Los Angeles voters approved the Measure JJJ ballot initiative, which requires developers of many residential projects to set a percentage of the units aside for low-income tenants. Meanwhile, city officials are considering new fees on developers to fund construction of new affordable units.
Sadly, with affordable developments filling up before they even open and 40,000 people on the wait list for Section 8 rental vouchers, the new income limits may simply be another reminder of how difficult it is to be an LA renter.
… growth under the Tories has been driven by increasing our private debt rather than through investment. The Conservative narrative is that government finances work the same as a household’s. So people accept that the government must cut spending in order to save money, like a household would. But the economy does not work like that. Starving the economy of public investment actually stifles growth. That’s why debt has been rising under the Conservatives, along with the tax burden.
The object of “conservative” budgets is to starve government, increase deficits, then complain about those deficits in order to push through privatization wherein what was cheaper under a properly funded public system becomes more expensive and the privateers skim off profits for themselves at the general public’s negative expense. That’s how it works. There is zero societal benefit to privatization, only negatives (all other things being equal).
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⇧ Michael Hudson: Review of Steve Keen’s “Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis?” | naked capitalism
Just to be completely clear here, Steve Keen is talking about private debt as the central problem right now. He knows there’s a limit to public borrowing but also that we’re not remotely near it.
Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, on Steve Keen’s new book:
In explaining the mathematical dynamics underlying his “Minsky” model, Keen links financial dynamics to employment. If private debt grows faster than GDP, the debt/GDP ratio will rise. This stifles markets, and hence employment. Wages fall as a share of GDP.
This is precisely what is happening. …
… Keen explains why, mathematically, the Great Moderation leading up to the 2008 crash was not an anomaly, but is inherent in a basic principle: Economies can prolong the debt-financed boom and delay a crash simply by providing more and more credit, Australia-style. The effect is to make the ensuing crash worse, more long-lasting and more difficult to extricate. For this, he blames mainly Margaret Thatcher and Alan Greenspan as, in effect, bank lobbyists. But behind them is the whole edifice of neoliberal economic brainwashing.
… Along with Thatcher, Keen places the blame the pied piper of Wall Street deregulation Alan Greenspan, whom he calls “a maestro of delusion, not of insight.” He also cites Larry Summers as an example of the learned ignorance beclouding economic discussion – which of course is just why the Clintons and Obama were told by their Donor Class to anoint him.
This book enables the non-mathematician to pierce the shell of mathiness in which today’s economic mainstream wraps its lobbying effort for the big banks and their product, debt. The needed escape from the debt deflation they have caused is a debt writedown.
… Keen’s pamphlet should be basic reading for placing debt at the center of today’s political debat e and replacing mainstream “barter” economics with a more reality-based discipline.
⇧ Fed holds interest rates steady, downplays economic weakness | Reuters
This is forward guidance (psychological) trying to talk up the economy. I’d rather see something substantive, such as a plan for sustainable growth without “externalities” (aka pollution and the like). Of course, that would require progressive reforms beyond anything being discussed.
⇧ Universal Basic Income is Not “Free Money”
This is wrong, not entirely but still in a very central sense. The money is not to come from the wealth generated by society or individuals in it. The money is to come out of thin air (for free) and spent so that the economy will be in balance: supply and demand (no unmanageable inflation or deflation). Secondly, which I will harp on until it becomes the common understanding, we don’t need to settle on a “basic” income somewhere around the poverty line. The income can be 3 times or 4 times or many times that amount and without causing any problems whatsoever. The issue is planning the supply to meet the demand. We can do that. It would still be a “market” economy, as people would still decide what to spend the money on. Price discovery would still exist.
We start issuing money while we measure the impacts and see where to increase supply (just like the capitalists do). We do all of this democratically.
Yes, it is free money!
⇧ Sigh….No, tax cuts won’t boost growth
The private sector spending versus the public sector spending is still spending. Moving the money from one to the other doesn’t do anything remotely like what the supply-siders have claimed. Even the Laffer Curve didn’t say that the more taxes are cut the more growth there would be. Laffer was theorizing about a sweet spot where maximum growth would happen at just the right tax rate, not no taxes, not even close. Nevertheless, he was wrong in that he was biased in favor of the private sector without data to back him up. He always low-balled the tax rate as a consequence.
Sometimes, governmental borrowing to increase public spending is the only thing that keeps the economy from falling deeper into recession or depression. Interest rates were very low. The US government kicked in with stimulus while the private sector should have been deleveraging (paying down debts). That’s why the Great Recession wasn’t even worse. If the government had not done that, we would have been in a depression making the Great Depression look like a picnic.
⇧ Study Says Mobile Homes at Risk From Climate Change, More Tornadoes
Are you investing in mobile homes to rent out? I’m not talking about modular homes but specifically mobile homes (homes on a trailer frame).
If you are, it’s recommended you avoid tornado-prone areas. You should also use hurricane strapping and securely attach the frame to a strong foundation.
⇧ ADAIR COUNTY WOMAN PLEAD GUILTY TO INSURANCE FRAUD/ARSON | WCLU
… while fighting the fire Assistant Fire Chief Charles Sparks suffered a heart attack and died a few days later.
⇧ The Employment Situation — April 2017 | U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics
So, it’s a rather middle-of-the-road result. It’s very difficult to really know where we stand psychologically: how the discouraged are really feeling and what they really want.
Bad weather was still a factor concerning the revisions.
Mining got a bump, but what are we sacrificing in terms of the costs of pollution, etc., with that? Construction was lukewarm, and automation really hasn’t made a large dent there yet. So, construction employment is still very important in gauging the overall health of the real economy. Yes, the service-sector is real, but wages are low at the bottom ranks there.
What does this mean for the Fed? Yellen isn’t as concerned with low wages and labor slack as she was. Still, I don’t see reasons to tighten the economy. I don’t see anything approaching what could cause anything remotely akin to runaway inflation, not that I like price inflation. The Fed is more interested in slow and steady for the sake of the financial sector and banking industry as a whole. I’m vastly more interested in the general public’s welfare and don’t think rattling the financial and banking sector is a bad thing at all. They’ve had way too much power and undeserved immunity for bad deeds.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 211,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and mining.
In April, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 181,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached , there were 455,000 discouraged workers in April, down by 113,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in April. …
In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $26.19. …
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised up from +219,000 to +232,000, and the change for March was revised down from +98,000 to +79,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 6,000 lower than previously reported.
⇧ Construction Job Growth Led by Nonresidential Sector, But Remains Tepid
ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu:
… the simultaneous expansion in job totals and ongoing slow GDP growth indicate that the average net new job is associated with relatively low output. This is consistent with still-soft productivity growth and somewhat sluggish wage growth relative to expectations. Construction has been especially susceptible to weak productivity growth in recent years, in part because skilled workers capable of delivering elevated productivity remain in such short supply. The scarcity of skilled craftspeople helps explain the scant 0.2 percent growth in nonresidential building construction employment over the past year.
⇧ United States Labor Force Participation Rate | 1950-2017 | Data | Chart
Labor Force Participation Rate in the United States decreased to 62.90 percent in April from 63 percent in March of 2017.
⇧ Why You Should NEVER Hire an Unlicensed Contractor for Your Real Estate Projects
Don’t hire unlicensed contractors! However:
A license doesn’t show you the level of quality the contractor can do nor the speed at which they will do it. For that, you are going to have to do some research.
In addition, some contractors are unionized. Typically, unions have higher standards for membership designations than not: think journeyman, etc. They are paid more, but they’re often steadier and more skilled and experienced. The unions typically also require higher safety standards than not too.
⇧ Prime-Age Employment Rate Hits New High for Recovery | Jobs Bytes | Data Bytes | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research
Continuing with employment-data analysis, here’s Dean Baker:
On the whole, this is very positive report, but one that provides little evidence of the labor market overheating. The EPOPs [employment-to-population ratios] suggest and quit rates indicate there is still considerable slack.
⇧ In Forthcoming Trump Budget, Rosy Forecasts of Economic Growth Likely to Produce Highly Unrealistic Budget Estimates | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
I really hate dynamic scoring. It’s the Laffer Curve continuing to be distorted solely to cut government to ramp up profits of privatizers at the negative expense of the general public.
… Trump proposed massive tax cuts that would lose trillions of dollars of revenue under the traditional methods that Congress’s official estimating agencies, CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), use to “score” tax legislation – and President Trump’s latest tax proposal, unveiled in late April, has similarly large tax cuts. Tax cut proponents argue that the traditional estimates ignore “macroeconomic feedback” effects in which the tax cuts generate additional economic growth not accounted for in traditional estimates, which, in turn, generates additional revenue. Such “dynamic scoring” lowers the net revenue loss from tax cuts that have positive economic growth effects.
CBO and JCT have conducted several illustrative analyses of the macroeconomic effects of tax cuts, and in 2015 Congress directed them to estimate the macroeconomic effects of major legislative proposals. Neither CBO nor JCT analyzes candidates’ proposals, and the latest Trump proposal doesn’t have sufficient detail, so at this point we lack CBO and JCT estimates of the Trump proposals’ cost.
In their analysis claiming higher economic growth from Trump policies, Navarro and Ross cite dynamic scoring of the Trump tax plan by the Tax Foundation, whose models tend to produce estimates showing much larger dynamic effects than CBO or JCT have found in their analyses. The Tax Foundation estimated that the Trump campaign’s tax plan would increase the long-run size of the economy by between 6.9 and 8.2 percent (depending on how certain business income is treated) and assumes that this happens within a decade. That would raise the ten-year average annual growth rate by about 0.7 or 0.8 percentage points, which, in turn, would reduce the Tax Foundation’s estimate of the Trump pla n’s revenue loss to between $2.6 and $3.9 trillion over ten years, compared with between $4.4 and $5.9 trillion under traditional scoring. In other words, the Tax Foundation estimated that dynamic scoring of the Trump tax under its model would produce between $1.7 and $2.0 trillion more revenue over the decade than traditional scoring.
That finding stands in stark contrast to an analysis of the Trump tax plan by the Tax Policy Center (TPC), using the Penn-Wharton Budget Model to estimate dynamic effects. The TPC analysis found somewhat larger revenue losses than the Tax Foundation using traditional methods, and substantially smaller dynamic effects. TPC’s estimate of the 2016-26 revenue loss under the Trump campaign plan would be $6.2 trillion before macroeconomic feedback effects, and $6.0 trillion using dynamic scoring that incorporates macroeconomic feedback effects, which TPC estimates to be about $200 billion. Moreover, TPC found that the tax plan’s dynamic effects would result in a $1.4 trillion revenue loss in the subsequent decade (2027-2036), because the negative effects on growth of the higher budget deficits that would result from the tax cut’s steep revenue losses – something the Tax Foundation assumes away – would outweigh any of the tax cut’s positive growth effects.
CBO and JCT likely would produce dynamic estimates more like these than like the Tax Foundation’s, based on how the JCT and CBO have done dynamic analyses in the past.
Navarro and Ross, however, took the Tax Foundation’s dynamic estimate that the Trump tax plan would lose $2.6 trillion over the coming decade and combined it with their own dubious calculations that the Trump trade, deregulation, and energy policies would increase revenue by $2.4 trillion in order to claim that “with proposed spending cuts, the overall Trump economic plan is revenue neutral.” This analysis is probably what Secretary Mnuchin has in mind when he states that the Trump economic plan, which encompasses both the Trump tax cuts and these other policies, will pay for itself with growth.
⇧ Productivity, Technology, and Demographics — IMF Blog
Technology will more than make up the difference if the power elite doesn’t stand in the way (which is saying a great deal).
“There’s a saying in Silicon Valley that we overestimate what can happen in two years, and we underestimate what can happen in ten years ….”
⇧ Arguments against basic income are straw men | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal
Notice how hard people with megaphones work to avoid the issue of money-financing a universal living income versus tax revenue to fund a basic income. That’s maintaining the straw man via intentional omission (censorship of the real solution).
The limits suggested in this article are fake. There is no nation on Earth that can’t have a universal living income and without inflation or deflation. All it takes is proper planning and execution. The banking elite and their hired-gun technocratic “economists” are dead set against it because the people would be free of debt to those bankers (often banksters, as we’ve clearly seen).
⇧ Alaska’s 24/7 Earthquake Monitors on Budget Chopping Block
… what budget cuts at the university actually mean. … building roads, bridges, saving lives, all relies on the university’s earthquake data.
⇧ Regulators Link Hoverboard to Deadly Pennsylvania Fire
… owners of the device [hoverboard] should immediately stop using it. … can be disposed of at recycling centers.
⇧ Full-Fledged El Nino Increasingly Likely in Second Half 2017
If El Nino develops later this year it should bring warmer temperatures to Washington state and neighboring areas but colder, wetter weather to a belt of southern states …
⇧ Goldman Says Tax Plan Devised by Former Goldman Execs Doesn’t Add Up – TheStreet
Goldman Sachs is playing the political middle to get something through.
Their conclusion: policymakers will likely opt for a higher pass-through rate, be it the 25% rate listed in the House Republican’s tax blueprint or some other, non-15% rate.
The analysts acknowledge that the Trump tax plan does have potential growth benefits — the assumption being that lower tax rates leads to increased economic output. But they appear not to be as sold on the amount of expansion the Trump team is promising. The White House has set a goal of 3% economic growth.
“… assumption being that lower tax rates leads to increased economic output ….” We know, however, that there will be no strings attached to the cuts: no mandatory productive investments. The business could sit on much of the “gains” or push the money into financial but nonproductive investments.
If we want stimulus, eliminate taxes on the poor. They pay down debts and maybe save some but also increase spending in the real economy, driving up demand for what suppliers earn profits supplying.
It’s good to view things from the proper perspective.
if we want to get up to Nordic levels of public welfare expenditure (and we do), the US needs to increase social expenditure by at least $15 trillion. So the next time a journalist says some social program costs an unbelievable $1.5 trillion over 10 years, just think “ah one-tenth of the way there!”
⇧ France and Greece Heavily Disadvantaged by Euro as Germany Benefits, World Economics
It is now incontestable that Germany benefits greatly from the Euro. The weaker members of the Euro drag down the external value of the Euro compared with the US Dollar making German exports far more competitive than they would otherwise be. Despite the relative value of the Euro being lower than would be the case if the Euro was the currency of Germany alone, the Euro’s value relative to the Dollar is still significantly higher than would be the case were the Euro the currency of an independent Greece or France.
It’s one of the reasons Le Pen wants out. It’s also why Peter Navarro said what he did about the currency and Germany: that Germany exploits the US via the euro.
⇧ Banking as if society mattered (Video) – Positive Money
I’m not embedding this video. Positive Money wants people to click through to their site, which is okay with me.
I was well on board with much of what they want long before they existed. In fact, I remember well the days when I could count on one hand the number of people on the Internet discussing these matters. Now it’s millions and even tens of millions. I’m looking forward to it becoming common knowledge and being enacted generally.
⇧ House Republican repeal of ACA is bad medicine for 24 million Americans
A huge number in the insurance industry agree.
⇧ Arkansas, Missouri flooding: Aerial images show water overtaking towns
After floodwaters punched through levees in parts of Missouri and Arkansas, the National Weather Service warned Thursday of more high water in northwest Arkansas.
⇧ The Impossible Math Behind Trump’s Tax Cut – Bloomberg
… Keynesian-style tax cuts like President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package also generate red ink, but they’re designed to phase out when the economy no longer needs the jolt.
What makes the Trump tax cuts violate the transversality condition is that they’re intended to be permanent. “If you propose a big tax cut without offsetting spending cuts, then it’s essentially an incomplete proposal,” says Eric Toder, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, a venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. “What you’re implicitly proposing is lower spending and higher taxes in the future.”
… “this plan is going to lower the debt-to-GDP” ratio. Expect to hear more of that kind of talk in future GOP messaging.
Keynes said: 1) deficit spend during a recession to stimulate and 2) pay it down when the economy is hot. What the libertarian-capitalists want is to cut taxes before the economy is hot, which won’t really stimulate (because the rich don’t have a propensity to spend in a stimulative way), then cut government spending to lower the deficit (the excuse) to keep the tax cuts for the super wealthy while starving welfare benefits especially to do it.
⇧ FDIC: Failed Bank Information – Bank Closing Information for Guaranty Bank, Milwaukee, WI, (d/b/a BestBank in Georgia & Michigan)
If you’ve never read how a bank is closed by the Federal government, you may want to read this. It’s how all the banks that caused the Great Recession and were not solvent without a bailout by the Fed could have been handled but they could have remained open with the same basic customer-interfacing staff but with the government as the new owner. That’s how it should have been handled to spare us all the nonsense we’ve endured for about 10 years now.
If that had been done and the stimulus large enough, the recession would have been over and recovery complete in about 2 years max.
⇧ The U.S. Job Market Is On A Historic Growth Streak | FiveThirtyEight
Rah-rah, but what are we going to do when automation starts removing 200,000 jobs per month? We better start talking about it in a very serious way. It would be a tragedy not to be ready to prevent anyone from falling through the cracks.
⇧ Portland’s parking vs. housing debate is ‘over,’ mayor says
When younger families or younger people say they want to locate here, the first thing they’re saying isn’t ‘Boy I wish I had another parking space, or had access to a parking space.” What they’re saying is, “I can’t afford to live in this city.”
Okay, but can’t parking be under the housing?
⇧ Homeland Security: Cyber threats on the rise
⇧ Nimble Shale Drillers Outpump Giants, Confounding OPEC Clampdown – Bloomberg
Okay, we all know that oil and gasoline are going to be replaced by electric, but they still represent a sizable aspect of overall costs in our economy. Lower prices still generally translate into more economic growth (but also pollution, another very costly cost).
⇧ How to Spot the Top Problems Home Sellers Try to Hide | realtor.com®
This goes for buy-to-rent too.
⇧ Who are NAHB’s Builder Members? | Eye On Housing
⇧ The quest for wellbeing has taken over from our search for productivity – Workplace Insight
Are you stressed? Well, I wasn’t until you asked!
The more we talk about it, the more stressed we get. One of the ways we might explain this is by borrowing an idea from the world of quantum mechanics. A commonly held interpretation of Werner Heisenberg’s famous Uncertainty Principle is that ‘the act of observation changes the nature of the object being observed’.
This means that the more you ask people whether they feel stressed and the more you talk about it as an issue, the more stressed they claim they are.
⇧ Tom Price says Americans will “absolutely not” lose Medicaid under GOP plan. That’s not true. – Vox
Nobody knows exactly what will happen, but your tenants who may already be living right on the edge such that one major emergency expenditure could bankrupt them or worse, will not be better served and more reliable as paying tenants if they can’t afford market-rate insurance in place of Medicaid.
⇧ The Rock-Star Appeal of Modern Monetary Theory | The Nation
So, Ive been saying the same things for many years; however, I did not come to them by way of MMT but rather independently. Once I discovered MMT, I did read about it extensively.
I disagree with some of their assertions, but it’s mostly just a matter of semantics (though some MMTers can be extremely stubborn about toeing the MMT line to the letter).
Where I leave off the most concerns the commercial-banking industry and the Federal Reserve System.
I especially don’t like using Federal Reserve Notes. We should use only United States Notes (concerning which no governmental borrowing is done to issue them).
Also, many people don’t understand the distinctions between the British monetary system and the US monetary system. The Brits don’t require reserves, but the Fed does. In practical terms, it doesn’t matter that much, but some people make arguments about US banking and the Fed by employing examples that only apply outside the US and usually the Bank of England.
⇧ The Democrats’ Myth on Deficits
… Clinton’s tax increases and spending cuts did not balance the budget. In 1996, after all the tax increases and spending cuts had been passed into law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a deficit equal to 2.7 percent of GDP for 2000. Instead we ended up with a surplus of 2.4 percent of GDP. This would be equivalent to a shift from a deficit of more than $520 billion to a surplus of $460 billion in the 2017 economy.
This massive shift from deficit to surplus had nothing to do with Clinton’s policies. According to CBO’s analysis, legislated changes between 1996 and 2000 actually added modestly to the deficit.
The real story of this shift from deficits to surplus was more rapid growth in the economy. This was driven on the supply side by an unexpected uptick in productivity growth. On the demand side, a stock market bubble led to a boom in consumption and investment.
It’s hard to see how the productivity uptick had anything to do with balanced budgets.
⇧ CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Digital Forces and the Other 70% of the US Economy
Economists are constitutionally suspicious of claims that large gains are out there, just waiting to be achieved. As economists like to say, ” If there’s a $20 bill out there on the sidewalk, why hasn’t someone already picked it up?” Mandel and Swanson offer this answer:
“Why has it taken so long? It sounds like a tautology, but industries whose output is information are inherently more amenable to digitization. … But when we examine industries whose output is primarily physical, the game gets far more difficult. To digitize a complex physical object such as a spinning jet engine, an unknown natural environment such as a buried oil field, or a rapidly changing manmade environment such as the traffic and work patterns of a large city, requires a level of sophisticated technology that was not available until fairly recently. Low-cost sensors that can be widely distributed; high-bandwidth wireless networks capable of collecting the information from the sensor; computing systems capable of analyzing terabytes of data in real time; artificial vision that can make sense of images and artificial intelligence that can make decisions-each of these are necessary parts of applying IT to the physical industries. Continued advances and price reductions in sensing, cloud computing, and broadband connectivity, combined with new thinking and new focus about how to apply these technologies to physical problems, are finally about to open up the other four-fifths of the economy to the magical laws of Moore and Metcalfe. … Moore’s law, named after Intel founder Gordon Moore, refers to the tendency of silicon microchips to roughly double in cost performance (because of the industry’s remarkable ability to scale transistors and other chip features) every 18 months to two years. … Metcalfe’s law refers to the observation by Ethernet inventor Robert Metcalfe that the power or value of networks rises not by the number of connected nodes b ut by something resembling the square of the number of nodes. This is one reason “network effects” can be so powerful.
⇧ How Artificial Photosynthesis Could Turn Greenhouse Gases Into Energy
I hope you enjoy this sort of article. I find it hopeful.
⇧ LSE Business Review — Whatever it takes to win: Rivalry increases unethical behaviour
Whatever it takes to win: Rivalry increases unethical behaviour: “…rivalry can indeed increase behaviours such as lying, cheating, and sabotage….” This is why cooperation is vastly superior to competition, social democracy vastly superior to unbridled capitalism.
⇧ Fannie-Freddie Look to Provide Financing for Manufactured Homes – Bloomberg
Plenty will depend upon whether the privatizers in the federal legislature get their way or not. They want to kill Fannie and Freddie.
⇧ So Hey You Should Stop Using Texts for Two-Factor Authentication | WIRED
… more secure still are systems that don’t require any message to be sent at all. Apps like Google Authenticator and tokens like those sold by RSA generate one-time-password codes that change every few seconds. Those same exact codes are generated on the servers run by services like Slack, WordPress, or Gmail, so that the user can cough up the code to prove their identity without it ever being sent over the internet. (The math behind that system is clever: When the user signs up for the service, the Google Authenticator app and the server both start with a seed value that’s transformed into a long, unique string of characters with a “hash”-a mathematical function that can’t be reversed. Then that string of characters is hashed again, and results are hashed again, repeating every few seconds. And only a few digits of those characters are displayed as the login code, so that no one who glances at a user’s phone can start their own hash chain.)
⇧ A Housing Affordability Crisis That’s Worse for the Lowest Income Americans | Poverty, Politics and Profit | FRONTLINE | PBS
A number of factors contributed to this growing gap, according to the group’s vice president of research, Andrew Aurand. A slow, long decline in federal resources like public housing, the loss of thousands of housing assistance vouchers, and a surge in demand for rental properties that started even before the 2008 recession factored into the situation, Aurand says.
“What happened when we hit the foreclosure crisis is that, all of a sudden, millions of families lost their homes,” according to Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 to 2014. “They became renters competing in the same rental housing market. And at the same time, incomes were going down even if you could keep your job. And that led to a rental affordability crisis in this country that’s as bad as it’s ever been in our history.”
⇧ Tesla’s Solar Roof Pricing Is Cheap Enough to Catch Fire – Bloomberg
Roofing a 2,000 square-foot home in New York state—with 40 percent coverage of active solar tiles and battery backup for night-time use—would cost about $50,000 after federal tax credits and generate $64,000 in energy over 30 years, according to Tesla’s website calculator.
The tiles could last longer than expected, and the savings in energy costs could be greater than expected. I’m not speaking of actual energy prices in the future but what that same energy would have cost without the shift to solar.
⇧ Fed Won’t Sink MBS Market as Balance Sheet Slims, Rosengren Says – Bloomberg
What they talk about sounds like theoretical physics but more difficult due to the unpredictability (so far) of human beings. However, what they are planning really amounts to re-privatizing this sector of the bond market, which re-privatizing is not complicated at all and which they will do no matter how human beings behave. The question is how quickly, not at all whether. The object is to reward bond buyers and holders. They want to do that to maintain the commercial-banking industry (the system of usury and the private control of the money supply and who gets it and usually its passive so-called earnings).
⇧ Ultra-rich investors shift to real estate
Reportedly at levels not seen before and with a mix of capitalization and property appreciation:
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⇧ Over half of Canadians are $200 or less away from not being able to pay bills – National | Globalnews.ca
It’s worse than I thought, and I thought it was worse then the media has been suggesting.
⇧ Arsonists Blamed for 320 Florida Wildfires in 2017
… criminology professor Bryanna Fox said some arsonists set fires to commit insurance fraud or cover up another crime, while others suffer from psychological disorders and enjoy setting and watching fires.
⇧ California Earthquake Authority Creates Online Home Vulnerability Evaluator
⇧ UIndy launches master’s degree for real estate development